Standing on the back of the couch, wiggling around with her little dog, Captain creates a poem
But she is not writing. She is not fiddling with papers and pencil, stopping to ask how to spell a word, or having concern for getting her thoughts down on paper. She is free to muse, to talk, to connect with what she is feeling, to throw her head back and laugh and bounce with happiness when she is pleased with herself. I am her mom, and I am her scribe.
I have addressed this concept in other posts, but wanted to take a moment to dive in a bit more deeply, as it is something that feels very important to me. Elementary-aged kids do a lot of writing. They are encouraged, cajoled, prompted and sometimes pressured to keep up with writing practice. This is a wonderful, yet difficult, stage for many kids as it is all about practice, hand control and just getting used to getting things down on paper. They are learning to spell new words constantly and even the best writers of the bunch need a little break sometimes, I feel. It wasn’t long ago that I realized that my kiddo was getting plenty of writing practice with other things, so I decided to ask her if she would like me to write for her when she created a story. It was amazing! Letting her loose to just create and go wild with a story or a poem is fantastic, and what comes out is so pure and full of energy and creativity. Think about if you felt inspired to come up with a story, whether on your own, or prompted for a school project, and you couldn’t get the words down easily. What you were thinking was coming in a flow of words and ideas, but you just couldn’t write them down, couldn’t spell the words or get past the paper in front of you. It wouldn’t be very nurturing of the creative process. In fact, I think I would probably put the pencil down and move on. What if someone recorded it for you? Pure freedom to ramble. How wonderful!!
I am sharing this because I have experienced, with my 6-year-old daughter, how beneficial it can be. I will be her note-taker sometimes and we both enjoy the process immensely. In fact today we are continuing our study of pineapples (the things I am learning about because Captain is interested!) and this afternoon, when she comes up with her “Pineapple Poem”, I will be her scribe. She loves it and trust me, I can’t wait!
Thank you for reading here. I welcome any comments or conversation about how much writing kids do, creative writing or anything else. In the meantime, I truly hope that kids get as many opportunities to let themselves be free to wander creatively, with someone who loves them willing to write it all down.
Good thoughts, juicy pineapples, and a freshly sharpened pencil to all,